I often use metrics like ‘Cents Per Mile’ to try to evaluate my decisions for using points and miles. While there is utility in doing such, the truth is that points and miles are really just a silly game to me. My goal in collecting and redeeming points is not to save money I would have spent, but rather to experience places that are so ridiculous that I would never spend my own money to get there. This trip was a shining example of the philosophy. Flying to Easter Island to spend two days on a remote island is silly. Even if I had the money to purchase these tickets, I wouldn’t even think about it. However I love the challenge and I love the ‘game’, so off we went!
- Trip Motivation and Planning
- LAN Flight Experience
- Tambo Del Inka Resort
- Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley
- JW Marriott Lima
- Exploring Lima
- Exploring Easter Island and the Moai
- W Santiago
- Exploring Santiago De Chile
The good old pre-Avios days
It was a sad day for me last year when British Airways transitioned to Avios. While there are some great values to be had in the new program, the pricing rules prohibit any sort of crazy Barrow-like adventures. Fortunately, I was able to lock in one of the old British Airways programs ‘wow’ routings before the switch. I call it a ‘wow’ routing because the BA phone agent I talked to said, “Wow, I didn’t think this would work!”
12000+ miles of flights for 40000 miles
While extremely excited for this trip, I went into the trip blind. Other than some help I received from you all, I really didn’t have a lot of background knowledge on any of these destinations. The official reason I booked this trip was as a Mother’s Day present to Mom. The unofficial reason I booked this trip was because I thought it was ridiculous you could fly three people all these places by signing up for a credit card.
This redemption was a straightforward one source-one call redemption. Using the old 100K BA credit signup, I was able to book tickets for myself and both my parents (40K BA miles per person round trip plus ~100 USD in taxes per person). I found the LAN award flight availability one by one using BA.com. Availability in economy on every leg of this trip was excellent for every date I checked. It took just one quick call to BA and the ticket was booked. The LIM-CUZ-LIM were booked separately on BA.com using 9000 Avios round trip plus 13 USD taxes.
The specific routing for this trip was MIA-LIM-CUZ-LIM-IPC-SCL-LIM-MIA. While we didn’t care about the order of cities we visited, there was a factor that made this an important choice. American citizens flying into Santiago’s primary international airport (SCL) from an international destination must pay a 140 USD reciprocity fee per person to enter the country. However, this reciprocity fee is only enforced at SCL. By choosing to enter Chile by means of Easter Island via Lima, the three of us were able to avoid this fee.
With the flights taken care of, I headed over to SPG to find hotels where I could find points redemptions. I found two properties I have long wanted to visit in the W Santiago and the Tambo Del Inka resort. Easter Island does not have any chain hotels so I needed to go with a B&B there. There were a few SPG options in Lima but none of them jumped out at me. While I am not devout Marriott-ist by any stretch of the imagination, their JW Marriott in Lima looked phenomenal from my research so I went with a points redemption there.
Flights, check. Hotels, check. Good enough for me. We’ll figure the rest out when we get there!
Don’t move! There is more to come.